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Stem Cells International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 826754, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/826754
Review Article

The Potential for Cellular Therapy Combined with Growth Factors in Spinal Cord Injury

1Department of Neurosurgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 8363 West 3rd Street Ste 800E, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA
2Regenerative Medicine Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA

Received 11 June 2012; Revised 19 August 2012; Accepted 28 August 2012

Academic Editor: Stefano Pluchino

Copyright © 2012 Jack Rosner et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Any traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) may cause symptoms ranging from pain to complete loss of motor and sensory functions below the level of the injury. Currently, there are over 2 million SCI patients worldwide. The cost of their necessary continuing care creates a burden for the patient, their families, and society. Presently, few SCI treatments are available and none have facilitated neural regeneration and/or significant functional improvement. Research is being conducted in the following areas: pathophysiology, cellular therapies (Schwann cells, embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells, olfactory ensheathing cells), growth factors (BDNF), inhibitory molecules (NG2, myelin protein), and combination therapies (cell grafts and neurotrophins, cotransplantation). Results are often limited because of the inhibitory environment created following the injury and the limited regenerative potential of the central nervous system. Therapies that show promise in small animal models may not transfer to nonhuman primates and humans. None of the research has resulted in remarkable improvement, but many areas show promise. Studies have suggested that a combination of therapies may enhance results and may be more effective than a single therapy. This paper reviews and discusses the most promising new SCI research including combination therapies.